As a reader, I think many eBooks are overpriced.
In my mind, there’s no reason for an eBook to be more expensive than a paperback. And when I find that it is, I will buy the paperback, even if I originally intended on buying the eBook.
For me, as a buyer, the magic price point for an eBook purchase is $4.99. I generally will not pay more than that.
So when it came time to price my own eBook, Baby Grand, I figured that would be the magic price point: $4.99. Case closed.
Imagine my surprise when my literary agent, during a discussion of price, suggested we sell Baby Grand for $2.99 — with a promotional price point of $1.99.
What?! Two bucks?
As a professional writer who has been paid a dollar PER WORD of an article, the idea of selling my entire novel (all 93,000+ words of it) for $1.99 totally freaked me out. My first thought was, This can’t be right. I worried about the perceived value of my product. Won’t readers think it’s cheap or (gasp!) worthless if they only pay $1.99 for it? I can’t breathe. Somebody get me a brown paper bag…
I spent a weekend mulling it over and researching — lots of researching. And in the end, I knew my agent was right.
1. I am a new author. Yes, I’ve been a writer/editor for 20 years, but this is my first dip into the fiction pool. Readers don’t know me. But I want them to get to know me. And if the price is right, they’ll be more willing to take a chance. That price of $4.99 that I mentioned before, my own eBook price ceiling? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that’s what I would pay for a book written by an ESTABLISHED author — a popular, if not best-selling, author. I thought about whether I would try a brand-new writer for that price, and the answer was probably not (which is so funny to me, because I’ll plunk down $20 in Target to buy garbage, but I won’t pay $4.99 on Amazon for an eBook penned by a new author).
2. Today’s market demands competitive pricing. There are several factors that will attract readers to your book (probably in this order):
- Your book’s title
- Your book’s cover
- Your book’s synopsis
- Your book’s price
- Your book’s reviews
Once your title and book jacket catch the readers’ eye and get them to your page, they will probably read your book summary. And if they are still interested, they’ll take a gander at the price and then, perhaps, read the reviews to see if they should buy. Price is an important part of this equation, particularly because, let’s face it, there are TONS of books being sold for 99 cents. And they’re also being given away for free. (I think I might need that paper bag again…) In some reading circles, $1.99 or $2.99 is the top of the market, and I didn’t want to price myself out of that market.
3. A book’s price tag is not about what you think your book is worth, but about what people are willing to pay. This was probably my biggest hurdle. I had to change the way I thought about price. I had to get those infomercials out of my head. As my agent said to me, “The low price coupled with the blurbs and the fact that you are already published by a major house will bash the perception that your book is ‘cheap’ in every sense of the word.” Gosh, I hope so.
The great thing about self-publishing, though, is we can change our pricing to follow the market. But while down the road, I may be able to boost my selling price a dollar or two, right now I want to connect with as many readers as possible, so $2.99 it is. My hope is that once I get folks to take a chance on me, they’ll like what they read and come back for more.
What do you think? Readers, how much would you pay for an eBook written by a new author? Authors, what is the price of your eBook?